The balladeer, conspicuously frail and 82 today, has heen working with the cantor and chorus of Montreal’s Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue for the opening track of his new single, You Want it Darker, also out today.
The refrain he sings is: ‘Hineni Hineni; I’m ready, my Lord.’
Make of that what you will.
Canton Gideon Zelermyer says: ‘Hineni literally means here I am. I’m too young to know everything about Leonard, but I know he does not use words without purpose.
‘Hineni has one major reference back to the Old Testament, relating to Abraham in God preventing him from sacrificing his son Isaac. But in this case, I think hineni is more a reference to Leonard as someone trying to come to an understanding with God, someone reckoning with final tallies in the Book of Life: Here I am — I am ready.’
You can listen to the track here.
The melody has distinct resonances of Ashkenazi High Holidays worship.